Norway’s justice ministry received a formal extradition request from Italy on Wednesday for Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, better known as Mullah Krekar. The request comes after an Italian court convicted Krekar of planning terrorism, and sentenced him to 12 years in prison.
Krekar, who remained in Norway during his trial in Bolzano, is resisting extradition and has appealed his conviction. The Norwegian ministry has acknowledged that it can “take time” before Norway can fulfill Italy’s extradition request and send Krekar out of the country.
The ministry told state broadcaster NRK on Thursday that it will forward the extradition request to the state prosecutor’s office and its formal administration NAST, which in turn must send it to state police intelligence unit PST, which in turn must send it through the court system. Krekar will be able to appeal at every stage, dragging out the process, until it’s ultimately expected to reach the Council of State over which King Harald V presides but is expected to carry out the government’s wishes.
Krekar long been declared a threat to national security in Norway but has managed to fend off all efforts to send him out of the country, mostly because Norwegian officials won’t send anyone to a country where they may face the death penalty. Norway has been unable to extract an agreement from Krekar’s Iraqi homeland that he won’t be executed.
Krekar and his public defenders claim the trial in Italy and subsequent extradition request are politically motivated, since Norwegian governments have tried to rid themselves of Krekar for years. Krekar remained in remand custody this week. Italy also had requested his arrest pending extradition, which he also has appealed.